- 0.1 My Background
- 0.2 What to Look for When Purchasing a Metric Tap and Die Set
- 0.3 My Recommendations
- 1 #1 BEST PROFESSIONAL GRADE
- 2 TEKTON Metric Tap and Die Set, 45-Piece
- 3 #2 BEST for OCCASIONAL USE
- 4 GEARWRENCH 40 Piece Metric Ratcheting Tap and Die Set
- 5 #3 BEST LARGE SIZE
- 6 IRWIN Metric Tap and Die Set, 25 Piece
If you are an auto mechanic, machinist, mill wright, metal fabricator, or a maintenance person sooner or later you are going to need to tap or cut a metric thread. You can’t always anticipate what size thread you will have to deal with. However, in certain trades metric threads are almost exclusively used. So having the best Metric Tap and Die set available is a smart decision that will help you get your job done faster and easier.
Unfortunately, shopping for a set that meets your requirements can be time-consuming and frustrating. It seems that tool manufactures don’t always do a good job of providing the most critical info and specs you should know. More often than not their product listings are vague and customer reviews aren’t always dependable. So unless you are willing to do some foot work you may end up with a set you are not satisfied with.
I’ve already done all the foot work so you won’t have to. Researching tools is something I happen to have a lot of experience with.
As a small machine shop operator and seasoned tool & die maker I have had to track down all types of tools – especially metal cutting tools. Often times a new project will require a tool I don’t happen to have on hand. Over the decades I have accumulated a large inventory of taps and dies in both SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) as well as Metric.
If I had known in advance that my customers would begin requiring more metric threads I would have bought a set of taps and dies a long time ago.
I have gained a unique perspective from my hands-on, real world experience from purchasing and using metal cutting tools. I certainly don’t know everything, but I believe my experience qualifies me to provide good and accurate information and recommendations.
What to Look for When Purchasing a Metric Tap and Die Set
Tap and Die Materials
For commercial applications like you would find in a machine shop or manufacturing facility taps and dies made from High Speed Steel (HSS) are the way to go. In those kind of environments taps are often used multiple times per day and need the extra wear and heat resistance of HSS to maintain a sharp cutting edge.
For occasional usage such as in an auto repair garage, commercial maintenance, or a home workshop, heat treated high carbon steel taps and dies will work just fine. HCS thread cutting tools are normally heat treated and tempered to the same hardness as HSS which is 60 Rc
Taps and dies require special holders to use them properly. A set should include one or multiple Tap Handles to accommodate the full range of taps in the set. Some tap handles are equipped with a ratcheting feature which I find very helpful. It eliminates the hand-over-hand movement which can cause tap misalignment or breakage.
Dies require a set of Stocks to be able to use. Some manufactures feature stocks with ratchets which is a helpful feature but also adds to the cost of the set.
Unless you are tapping an existing hole you will need a set of drills to accommodate each tap size in your set. A drill combo set that includes Number, Fractional, and Letter size drills will work for metric tapped holes and offers more versatility than a set of metric drills.
Any quality set of tools should have a quality carrying case to keep the tools organized and to protect them.
Choose a Name Brand
When I purchase a cutting tool I always go with a familiar brand name I have learned to trust over the years. There are a lot of junk tools being sold in stores and online. Three name brands that pop to mind when it comes to top quality tap and die sets are IRWIN , GEARWRENCH and TEKTON. They have been in business for a long time and have developed a reputation for making the best metric tap and die sets that you can depend on.
I recommend these three sets because they include quality metric taps and dies, important accessories plus well-made carrying cases. I believe these are the three best metric tap and die sets for the tradesman or home work shop do-it-yourselfer.
#1 BEST PROFESSIONAL GRADE
TEKTON Metric Tap and Die Set, 45-Piece
- Full range of 20 each Taps and Dies, coarse and fine threads from 6mm to 24mm
- Hardened tungsten alloy High Speed Steel construction for superior thread cutting
- 1/4-inch T-handle tap wrench
- 1/4 – 1-inch T-handle tap wrench
- 2-inch T-handle die stock
- 1-1/2-inch Die stock adapter
- (20) Plug Taps(20) Split dies
- Tap and Die Sizes: Coarse threads: 6 x 1.0, 8 x 1.25, 10 x 1.5, 12 x 1.75, 14 x 2.0, 16 x 2.0, 18 x 2.5, 20 x 2.5, 22 x 2.5, 24 x 3.0Fine threads: 6 x 0.75, 8 x 1.0, 10 x 1.25, 12 x 1.5, 14 x 1.5, 16 x 1.5, 18 x 1.5, 20 x 1.5, 22 x 1.5, 24 x 1.5
- Storage case to keep everything organized
The TEKTON 45 Piece Metric Tap and Die Set is designed for machinists, toolmakers, auto and marine mechanics, and maintenance personal who require professional grade tools to do their job.
Each tap and die is made from tungsten alloy High Speed Steel which will maintain a sharp cutting edge longer and under heavy use conditions.
The dies are SPLIT which gives the advantage of being able to chase an oversize thread and then adjust it down to spec size for a finish cut.
The taps are PLUG style for easy starting and reduced torque requirement.
If you want the best metric tap and die set for your shop or business the TEKTON 7561 is the best and most economical option. NOTE: ALSO Available in SAE Set
#2 BEST for OCCASIONAL USE
GEARWRENCH 40 Piece Metric Ratcheting Tap and Die Set
- Ratcheting Die T-Handle Stocks w/ reversing lever to eliminate hand-over-hand turning
- Twist Lock Guide System to keep dies centered and reduce “walk back”
- Die Adapter for round and hex dies. Work with 3/8” Drive Pass ratchet and socket system and socket accessories
- Ratcheting T-Handle Tap wrench works with GEARWRENCH pass-thru socket system
- Auto-Locking Feature allows tap adapters to be safely removed
- Spring-Loaded Cap for quick release of large tap adapter
- Metric tap and Die Sizes Included: M3-0.5 and 0.6, M4-0.7 and 0.75, M5-0.8 and 0.9, M6-1.0, M7-1.0, M8-1.25, M9-1.0 and 1.25, M10-1.25 and 1.5, M11-1.5, M12-1.5 and 1.75
- BSP (British Standard Pipe) 1/8-28
- Blow Molded Carrying Case with designated compartments and tilt out holders
The GEARWRENCH 40 Piece Metric Ratcheting Tap and Die Set offers outstanding value. It is feature rich with just about every accessory you will need to produce high quality tapped and cut metric threads. Each piece is precision crafted from High Carbon Tool Steel to tight tolerances. These taps or dies will cut Class 2 threads in mild steel, heat treated low carbon steel such as truck springs, high carbon tool steels, aluminum and other non-ferrous metals.
The ratcheting handles work so much easier and help eliminate tap breakage and misaligned threads.
If you are a professional auto mechanic or someone who wants a well-equipped home workshop the GEARWRENCH 40 Piece Metric Ratcheting Tap and Die Set is an excellent choice.
#3 BEST LARGE SIZE
IRWIN Metric Tap and Die Set, 25 Piece
- Taps and Dies are made from High-Carbon Tool Steel for long life and durability
- Taps will cut Class 2B threads in most annealed steels, aluminum, brass, plastic and other materials
- Metric Plug Tap and 1-7/16 Hexagon Die Sizes: 14mm – 1.25, 14mm – 1.5, 14mm – 2.0, 16mm – 1.5, 16mm – 2.0, 18mm – 1.5 and 18mm – 2.5
- Metric Plug Tap and 1-13/16″ Hexagon Die Sizes: 20mm – 2.5, 22mm – 1.5, 24mm – 2.0 and 24mm – 3.0
- Adjustable 1-7/16″ Die Stock
- Adjustable 1-13/16″ Die Stock
- Handle Tap Wrench holds Taps No. 1/4″ to 1″
- Blow Molded Carrying Case
IRWIN is one of the most familiar and trusted names when it comes to quality tools. The IRWIN 25 Piece Metric Tap and Die Set has all the items you will need to cut clean proper fitting metric threads. This professional set cut metric male and female threads ranging from 14MM to 24mm.
The Metric taps included in this set are designed for hand-threading. They will work in mild steel, hard or annealed low carbon steel, high carbon steel, cast iron, aluminum, brass, most plastics and other materials. The taps are designed to produce a Class 2B thread.
This set is ideal for someone who operates an auto repair garage or performs maintenance and repair work in a commercial environment or a machine shop.